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I am interested to see how many people have ever heard of or tasted rutmousse (pronounced “root mousse”).  A quick internet search uncovered almost nothing, just a few random mentions of a root vegetable mash, which is basically what rutmousse is. But it is so much more…! My early memories of this dish are fuzzy– as a child I was not terribly excited about turnip casserole, but as I got older I began to like it more and more. I remember it as part of my Mom’s Thanksgiving dinners and (I believe) my aunt and grandmother’s Christmas Eve smorgasbord. My beloved family cookbook includes the recipe, so it’s been on my Thanksgiving menu for the past few years; I even have a special orange casserole dish I use every time I make some. Rutmousse on the table is a nod to my Swedish Nana and a symbol of how important heritage and tradition are to me. Of course, it tastes good, too: a light, delicately spiced “mousse” made with purple-top turnips (my favorite), rutabagas or a mix of both. I am happy to report that more than a couple self-proclaimed turnip haters changed their mind (or at least were gracious to my face, ha!) after trying my rutmousse. If you’re looking for something new this Thanksgiving, think about giving it a try! And please, please, please, if you’ve had rutmousse, or if you make it yourself, I would love to hear about it and see how your recipe compares to my family’s. Happy Thanksgiving!

Rutmousse (Swedish Turnip Casserole)

  • 2 lbs turnip or rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. + 3 T. fine bread crumbs, separated (I use panko)
  • 1 c. whole milk or cream
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2 or 2 quart casserole dish and set aside.

Cover turnip cubes with water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 mins., until fork tender. Drain and return to the pan; mash very well or put through a food mill. Add the butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper and brown sugar and mix well; add 1/2 c. bread crumbs, milk and eggs and stir until you have a smooth, evenly-mixed consistency. Pour mixture into your prepared casserole dish, smooth the top and then use a soup spoon to make a scalloped (or similar) pattern on the top. (Don’t be too fancy, as the pattern usually does not hold through cooking; you’re creating ridges for the bread crumbs to sit in/adhere to.) Sprinkle 3 T. bread crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 45 mins., until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Rutmousse can be made 1-2 days in advance and kept, uncooked, tightly covered in the fridge; bring to room temperature before baking. I’ve also discovered that I love it cold, but that may just be my quirk… and my husband likes to sneak a little turkey gravy on top, which I used to pout about, but am starting to understand. 🙂

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